ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), on the orders of the Interior Ministry, blocked mobile broadband services across the country Tuesday as protests erupted after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest earlier in the day.
Videos of violent protests were shared widely on social media platforms after unrest flared up following the former prime minister’s arrest in the afternoon, after which mobile broadband services were blocked, a PTA spokesperson confirmed.
She said that the regulatory authority was also receiving reports of social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, being down. However, these reports could not be confirmed, she added.
Sources told Geo News that “unwarranted” clips of the protests were shared on social media after which various platforms started experiencing disruptions around 8pm, causing problems for citizens.
“Not much works without the internet in today’s day and age and although I am no longer a working professional, tuning into the TV to follow the news on such a politically charged day is second nature to me. But I had an error message greet me because even my television channel subscription is tied to my internet services,” Sameen Daud Khan, a Karachi resident told Geo.tv.
Khan was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) earlier today by Rangers personnel in connection with a warrant issued by the National Accountability Bureau in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
Following his arrest, the PTI urged supporters all across Pakistan to protest and “block all roads, close all shops”.
Subsequently, PTI workers held protests in several cities, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, and Mardan.
In Karachi, demonstrators clashed with the police near Nursery. They threw stones at and set fire to police vehicles, tore down street lights, and damaged a bus. There were reports that police fired teargas shells at the protesters.
Protesters also caused damage to public property in other cities, including Rawalpindi and Lahore.
Hours later, many users in Pakistan reported that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram’s services were down as they were unable to access the popular social media platforms in the evening.
According to the outage-tracking website, Downdetector.com, users are unable to log in to their accounts on all three platforms, meaning they also couldn’t post or view anything.
A large number of smartphone users are also complaining about their WhatsApp which is not working both on desktops and cellphones.
Moreover, as per reports, internet speed is also slow for many users across the country.